Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A New Companion and District Leader Assignment

This is the new district leader, Elder Swenson, with his new companion, Elder Christensen. Wait, seriously, this is his new OLD companion—his roommate from the MTC! Going from "greenie" to District Leader is quite a switch, but we know Elder Swenson is up to the task. "Who the Lord calls he qualifies."

Elder Christensen has three older brothers that all served in Denmark. AND, his grandma lives in Denmark, not far from where they are serving, as well as some other relatives. There is a reason missionaries are called to certain missions!

From his last letter:
Well, my world has been flipped officially. I went from basically being treated like a greenie to being DL. The first week hasn't been too bad though, I picked up Elder Christensen at the train station Wednesday morning and went straight to work after that. The first couple days were definitely a little rough because of very few appointments, which left us to knocking and stop-by work. It gave me a taste of what some of the areas are like in this mission. In Ballerup, we're super lucky to have as many appointments as we do. ... It was nice to see some results from our efforts though, we have 3 new investigators that we will be teaching this week and 2 that have been picked back up that we hadn't been teaching lately.  Actually we have 4 teaching appointments and an eating appointments set for just this Tuesday, so we're pretty well set for the week.  All of the new people are very positive so far, so very excited to teach all of them.  

It hasn't been too stressful of a workload as a District Leader, just a little extra work at the end of each day calling people.  We're having a District Meeting this Friday, which will be a good time.  Basically in those you just set some goals and help each other out with investigator problems.  That's pretty crazy how hot it's been up there, the past two days we've actually been freezing here!  Yesterday walking home from church I was seeing my own breath.  It was dumping rain all day, which made for a fun time walking around knocking doors.  It was crazy to go on splits with DJ, who's Elder Christensen's older brother. 

I love the bakeries up here.  Everything is super fresh and rich.  The language is still the usual up and down.  Some days I feel like a professional, and other's I feel downright retarded.  It's funny how it is in learning another language, it's the exact same with other missionaries.  But I've been working my butt off at it, that's for sure.  I have a little notebook that I always have on me.  If I ever see a word I don't know I'll write it in their and review it whenever I'm on a bus or something.  So that way I know a bunch of random words people don't expect me to know.  I would say the hardest part of it is taking new words and actually using them when you speak.  I'll hear them used and know what they mean, but it's a whole different thing when you have to have them at your disposal when you speak. 

So, unfortunately we don't have a baptismal date right now.  But the top two guys that we've been working with will hopefully have another this week.  Right now, I'm more excited about the new investigators.  I think if we get a baptism in this area, it will be more likely to come from somebody newer than one of these people we've been teaching forever.  We still work with them though.  It's been a new experience taking the lead in lessons. It's forced me to learn the lessons better and learn how to be smoother in teaching. I've had some good practice just this last week though, we've taught 2 first lessons right at people's doorsteps and both times it went surprisingly well.  I got to go to another baptism this last Saturday.  A lady from Madagasgar was baptized.  It was super inspiring to hear the stories and talks about how she was found and how the spirit worked on her.  It always gives us motivation to keep looking for people like that in our own areas.  Hopefully one of these new people we teach will be able to feel it.  So, that's pretty much it, it's going well.  It could always be better, but I won't complain. We've had good enough success to keep us motivated, and we won't have anymore unless we earn it out there.  Thanks for all the letters. 

Love you all, and have a bombing week!
Ældste Swenson

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Transfers and Plans

Great letter from our Elder today! We found out that transfers are taking place in two weeks. BUT, Elder Swenson will stay where he is, only his companion and the other two elders in their apartment are being transferred. Elder Christensen, his companion from the MTC, is being transferred into Elder Swenson's area and they will be companions once again! The exciting news is that Elder Swenson will be Senior Companion, and the two of them will be responsible for their entire area. I know they will live up to the task! I think it is both humbling and flattering for Elder Swenson knowing his mission president has the confidence in him to entrust such a great responsibility.

The other exciting news is that he gets to play a piano solo this Sunday for a fireside where Elder Marlin K. Jensen will be presiding. We met Elder Jensen several years ago when he came to our Stake Conference. Great man! So humble and sincere, a true man of the Lord. I hope Rusty will get to meet and talk with him personally. I'm also thrilled Rusty decided to play my personal favorite, "If You Could Hie to Kolob." I'd give my left foot to be there! I love hearing him play this piece and I know it will touch the hearts of many. I hope he uses this opportunity to talk to people about what they felt when they heard it, so he can let them know it is the Spirit of our Heavenly Father. And then they will want to feel it more and know more about the gospel.

P.S. Above is a photo of Rusty and his beloved Kebab... and his favorite chocolate milk drink!